Liberals hurt children, attack priests and bishop, destroy parish school: Platteville, WI – FOLLOW UP

You may recall that I have written about a great group of priests in the Diocese of Madison (where the great Bp. Morlino reigns) called the Society of Jesus the Priest.  (See  HERE.)

Liberals mounted a sustained attack on these priests.  In 2010 I wrote here that the liberals were going to destroy the parish school.  It looks like the won: they destroyed the school.

What’s going on?

Catholic elementary school in Platteville will likely close
Parish fundraising effort falls short
Published On: Apr 18 2012

A Catholic elementary school in Platteville will likely close at the end of the school year.

St. Mary’s Parish needed at least $100,000 to keep the school open, and a fundraising effort came up short.

The parish’s money problems reportedly worsened when a new priest took over the parish. The Rev. Faustino Ruiz is part of a plan from the top of the Catholic Church to bring the faith back to its more traditional, conservative roots. The change caused conflict with some parishioners and donations dwindled, WISC-TV reported.

The Catholic Diocese of Madison said that after consulting with financial and pastoral councils, priests at the church made the recommendation to Bishop Robert Morlino to close the school.

Morlino is now considering that move.

A decision will likely be shared with the parish this Sunday.

Please stop and say a prayer for the priests of the Society of Jesus the Priest and for Bp. Morlino, who are working in one of the most liberal areas of the whole USA.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Liz says:

    Oh no! I wish I had a $100,000. That is so sad! I remember that some of us sent small donations to that school and the kids wrote back with a thank you note and a nice picture of all of them.

    It must be hard to battle discouragement when fighting such an uphill battle. The liberals may or may not win this battle, but God triumphs in the end. His plan will be better than ours ever could. I will pray for these good priests again, and Bishop Morlino has been in our prayers ever since then.

  2. PA mom says:

    This is fairly predictable. The Catholic schools are so expensive now, due to few Sisters and the constant pressure to have everything that the public schools offer. It is obviously difficult for more traditionally minded families to afford them. My son’s kindergarten class contains one family with nine children, mine and another have four kids, but about 40 percent do not have any siblings. It is difficult to imagine that all of those families are that size by God’s workings. I had not thought it this bad in the parish as a whole, but I guess the trending keeps going down. Oh, but lots of pets, as though that was an adequate substitution.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    The private Catholic schools are so good. Look at the NAPCIS site. Bishop Morlino encouraged private Catholic schools in his diocese as I know first-hand. He encouraged good orders of priests. The old parochial, parish schools are, sadly, frequently run by not-so-Catholic principals and teachers. I am all for the shutting down completely of all Catholic elementary and secondary schools which do not make their administrators and teachers take the oath and make the promise, as instructed by John Paul II and as I reminded people earlier on my blog again and again. Just in case people do not understand the oath and the promise, here is one link.

    Any school which refuses to implement these should be closed down by the bishops. I would not pour money into wishy-washy, nominally Catholic schools. This one in the article was being renewed in the Faith and the liberals submarined it. Sad.

  4. Hidden One says:

    God has an awful lot of money. Plenty of it is found in Catholic wallets and bank accounts. And charity covereth a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

    It’s not over ’til it’s over.


  5. discerningguy says:

    How awful. I admire these priests.

  6. PostCatholic says:

    Not sure how, though, liberals destroyed the school. You equate a lack of contribution, or a lack of support for leadership, with destruction?

  7. happyhockeymom says:

    I read about this when it originally became news and bookmarked the page so that I could donate when I had a little more money. Now it is too late. :(

    I wonder how many more people did the same thing? All of us who do our best to be faithful to Church teaching and ask for places like this need to step up and help or things like this will happen.
    And if things continue to get worse with the current administration, we will need to help each other even more. The hard part is that we are so scattered across the US.

    I will truly take this as a wake up call for myself to make sure I never put something like this off again.

    I will pray for these good priests and Bishop Morlino.

  8. Frank H says:

    PostCatholic, please read Fr. Z’s post from 11/5/2010 which he linked above.

  9. Del says:

    The “liberals” (I dislike this political term for disobedience and dissidents) organized an effort to withhold donations and financial support. As a result, the parish cannot afford to operate their school anymore. This punishment only hurts the families of the parish.

    This is sad — The instigators were from Madison and Milwaukee, so they lost nothing. And the battle is over “altar girls” and EMHO’s, which the Society priests don’t use.

    Here’s the Good News, which is missing from all the news reports: The mission of these Society priests also includes the Newman Center parish on UW Platteville. Good things are starting to happen on the college campus…. Bishop Morlino intends to match the awesome, vocation-producing spirit that is present in the UW-Madison campus parish. We have seen that good priests are critical to the spiritual reformation of college parishes…. and this is where the near-future leaders of the Church will come from.

  10. acardnal says:

    As a member of the diocese of Madison, these are wonderful holy priests! They celebrate both the Novus Ordo and the TLM. I sent them a donation in 2010 but I guess it was not sufficient.

  11. Well, how much is their shortfall, and is it still possible to make contributions?

  12. LisaP. says:

    There are ways to do Catholic education other than the way that has become standard — a coalition supporting home schoolers, for example. Not saying it’s not o.k. to be sad, but I do believe in blessing in disguise. I’ve known people who’ve held Mass in fire stations for two years until church’s can be built, conduct school in old warehouses or barns. You can run a school with massive parent involvement and less staff — cut out meals, make it all sack lunches, that’s how the Catholic school I attended did it. Parents volunteer to man the front desk, aide in classrooms. As a former teacher, I can tell you that if I thought we could have a genuinely Catholic school here I’d definitely work full time for $25,000, maybe less if I thought everyone was pulling together. So, give me a class of 15 kids, that’s $2,000 a year each? If the kids can’t pay it all, maybe parishioners can step up, I understand it used to be that schools were supported by parish funds, not tuition?

    When we were near a parochial school but sent our kids to public school, I was asked why I didn’t use the Catholic school. I said I knew at some point my kids were going to be handed a condom by a teacher, I just didn’t want that teacher to be a nun. Schools that contradict true Catholic teaching aren’t just not as good as loyal schools, they are counterproductive, and this has driven a decline because parents who want true Catholic education are leaving the parochial schools and parents who want Catholic in name only aren’t any more loyal to and supportive of the school than the school is loyal to and supportive of the Church. PA Mom is so, so right. The school we were near had no sympathy at all for the families I knew with four or more kids, they eventually had to leave the school because the costs were overwhelming. You punish Catholics for having large families, who exactly do you expect to see in your school?

    Which is off point, but my hope would be that parishes like the one in the post will see that maybe the old way is dead and well buried, and find a new way to continue on. I remember a bishop writing extensively about how expensive it was to run a Catholic school, how I believe he felt he needed $8,000 a year to educate a student. I’m doing very well with some used curriculum and a public library. Sometimes crises can really shake you up and help you see what is and isn’t necessary. I hope this parish finds a way.

  13. Bob B. says:

    Here is a similar situation.
    A new principal was brought in to take over our K-8 school. The pastor was advised that he had to hire her or, because the school was doing poorly, he would not receive the finances to keep the school open for three more years.
    As you probably figured out what was coming, this is the end of year two; 1/2 of the teachers are leaving at the end of the school year and so are a similar number of students. Why? The new principal lacks background in being a Catholic principal (e.g., she didn’t know what the Memorare is, necklaces with a cross or holy medal are allowed but not encouraged, insulted parents, etc), though she’s been one for some time now. The pastor will not do anything in order to save funding for the school, which may not have enough students next year. The diocesan school superintendents will not do anything as they were the ones who installed her into the position. The bishop is going to retire and has never really become involved in his schools.
    Though the problems and lack of Catholicity of the principal has been well documented, there has been no action and no one is holding their breath that things will change. The parents are already enrolling their kids in other schools and the school appears doomed to fade into non-existance.
    This is example of parents wanting a conservative Catholic education (I would teach Aquinas’ Quinque Viae, for example) and liberal administrators insisting on ruining things their way, regardless of the consequences.
    We cannot afford to let Catholic schools become a thing of the past.

  14. Blaise says:

    Supertradmum – thanks for the link to the Oath of Fidelity and Profession of Faith. It ought to be required annually by any Catholic teacher in a Catholic School.
    LisaP – I think your second paragraph is particularly true. I especially liked this bit: “When we were near a parochial school but sent our kids to public school, I was asked why I didn’t use the Catholic school. I said I knew at some point my kids were going to be handed a condom by a teacher, I just didn’t want that teacher to be a nun.”

  15. AnnAsher says:

    Prayer offered.
    It is my opinion that if the society around us rejects Catholic social ministries then we should withdraw them as requested. Why labor so furiously to continue to provide what is not appreciated? Sometimes good parents withdraw priveleges from their children. This is what I propose we do in this country for the time being. Catholic schools, health care, charities provide the lions share of aid to the poor. That school isn’t closing because of Catholic parents who pay their tuition. Withdraw scholarships. Withdraw grants. Serve those who wish to support the ministry alone, for now. If the parents want a school, let them run it.

  16. AnnAsher says:

    I also concur with the opinion that Catholic Ed has gotten too expensive from trying to keep up with the heathen schools. Simplification can be enriching.
    Also don’t like the terms liberal and conservative, but I’ve used them for lack of better term. Heretics and the Faithful perhaps?

  17. Drefcinski says:

    Dear Fr. Z,
    This catastrophe is far more complicated than “Liberals v. the good guys.” A more accurate description is: when Spanish clericalism collides with a Midwestern stubbornness that is corrupted by decades of weak catechesis and a folksy, informal approach to the Mass, the results are ugly. [A huge flaw here is your invocation of “Spanish clericalism”. My experience of these men is that that doesn’t apply.]
    I do not defend the decision of hundreds of parishioners who have bailed from St. Mary’s Church. At times, the treatment of the bishop and the SJCP priests by their hostile critics has been appalling and perhaps even diabolical. Moreover, their decision to withhold their financial support, knowing that it will lead to the closure of the school and eleven lost jobs, is uncharitable in the fullest sense of the term. It is also irrational; bishops and priests come and go but the closing of the school is likely to be permanent.
    Nevertheless, the manner in which the SJCP priests implemented their changes was incredibly inept. [That is not necessarily a symptom of “clericalism”. On the other hand, in the face of the “stubbornness you invoke on the other side, perhaps no amount of time would have sufficed, no amount of patience, explanations or catechesis.] A wise pastor would develop a level of trust and understanding with his parishioners before implementing major changes. The SJCP priests did not do that. I could list many examples, including some recent ones, but I do not wish to defame the priests. Besides, I like them and have prayed daily for their success. Perhaps they just don’t know how to minister to a flock that is not already predisposed to their approach. Yet I am convinced that some of the people who left the parish would have stayed had the SJCP priests moved more slowly and compromised much more often.
    Furthermore, in response to some of the previous comments, there was nothing heretical about St. Mary School. The curriculum, including the religious classes, was entirely consistent with Bishop Morlino’s diocesan standards. It was not a wishy-washy, heretical school. Moreover, the school was very affordable—approximately $1,200 per child for the first three children in the family and free for any additional children. The school is not closing for a lack of fundraisers either, as you can see for yourself at
    This disaster hits my family and me very hard. [I am very sad to hear that.] I would have had four children in the school next year. My wife and I worked very hard to keep the school open. We fasted once a week for the success of the school. Every day at Mass (TLM), during the elevation of the chalice, I have prayed for our parish and school. [Sometimes, that is all we can do.] We increased our financial contributions. I have tried to reason with as many people as I could—priests and laity alike. But all of these efforts have come to naught.
    This is a life-changing tragedy for me. And perhaps the saddest part of it all is that it seems none of the principal agents involved in it have learned anything, so certain are they of their own rectitude.

  18. Brad says:

    Dear Drefcinski, hi brother.

    “This is a life-changing tragedy for me. And perhaps the saddest part of it all is that it seems none of the principal agents involved in it have learned anything, so certain are they of their own rectitude.”

    Don’t despair! You sound like quite a holy man and thus you know that the despair itself offends God because it is in effect a vote of no confidence in Him, and a premature one at that. He writes straight with crooked lines, so this may not be a tragedy at all, according to His designs and their timeline. Imagine what a tragedy it seemed to the disciples when their Leader was ground down into a tomb and all their hopes with Him. They voiced their shocked despair on the road to Emmaus. Relatedly, the principals involved may seem to have not learned anything, but you do not know that they secretly haven’t or perhaps that they have simply not as yet. So, do not despair! As our Mother did on Holy Saturday, await the Lord and His designs with faith, hope and love. May God bless you. Saying a Hail Mary for you now.

  19. LisaP. says:

    $1,200 a child is amazingly good tuition. I understand the average is about $3,500 per kid.

    I’m sorry if parishioners punished the parish by withdrawing funding from a school no one had an issue with. It must be discouraging to the 11 employees, who at that tuition rate (even if subsidized by the parish) and with an enrollment (as per a story) of about 100 kids must have been nearly volunteering their time for years, what a lack of appreciation that seems to show. I hope somehow something gets worked out.

  20. catholicmidwest says:

    Ah, it’s funding they need. By the headline, it sounded like they attacked the place with chainsaws or something.

  21. doozer125 says:

    stupid liberals.

  22. dad29 says:

    It is very, very difficult to understand exactly HOW Lefty the UW-towns in the Madison Diocese really are. (Remember, the U of Wisconsin has a ‘college’ at Platteville.)

    Dane County is the epicenter of Progressive Socialism in Wisconsin, and a near-majority of Dane County Catholics (if not the majority), are noisy and emphatic backers of the Party of Abortion, and that’s just the beginning of their constant conflict with Church teachings. One- or two-child families are extremely common (do you suppose it’s Continence??), confessional lines do not exist, yet ALL receive Communion….the list is endless.

    I think that Bp Morlino has one of the most difficult assignments in the US heirarchy. He needs your prayers and sacrifices urgently.

  23. guans says:

    For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, Have mercy on us and on the whole world.
    Holy Spirit, Beloved of my soul, I adore You.
    Enlighten me. Guide me. Strengthen me. Console me.
    Give me Your orders. Tell me what I should do.
    I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me, and to accept all
    that You permit to happen to me.
    Let me only know Your Will. Amen
    Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

  24. PostCatholic says:

    People rarely give both their money and silence.

  25. robtbrown says:

    PA mom says:

    This is fairly predictable. The Catholic schools are so expensive now, due to few Sisters

    Exactly, and it is an argument against the Progressives, who have insisted that there is little need for sisters or brothers in the New Church.

  26. mrsschiavolin says:

    I hope that the parishoners can find a non-traditional way to set up a learning environment for the kiddos. I am part of such an apostolate. We are not allowed to call ourselves a Catholic school, although we have unifs and are radically dedicated to the Blessed Mother, the Magisterium, and Our Lord! And truth be told, we don’t want the kind of restrictions and regulations the Catholic School superintendent imposes (not to mention the political correctness). We are technically under a non-education branch of the diocese. So maybe with a little creativity they can figure out how to run a small program on a shoestring budget. Prayers.

    I feel badly for the people, as an ex-Wisconsinite that knows all too well the insanity that exists up there.

  27. LisaP. says:

    Mrs. S, that sounds astonishing, I had no idea out of the box programs were running like that. Terrific!

    “People rarely give both their money and silence.” — looks to me like the case here is folks declining to give either one.

  28. fats says:

    I came into the Church after Vatican 2 was in place, so i didnt really know what it was like before. That said, after many many years of trying to grow in my Faith, i found that i always went back to the Church Fathers and the Saints for understanding of what the Church was about, and the funny thing about that was i realized that one of the biggest themes i came across, was the pursuit of humility by the Saints. The other thing that stood out to me, was that the Saints were called to obedience, even when it seemed to conflict with their visions and what they were called to do. somehow, by obedience , their callings were also realized. I know it’s hard to be obedient when another part of you is being pulled in another direction, but thru Obedience Pride is defeated and brings Humility, and thru Humility comes Grace, and thru Grace, comes an indwelling of God, and that is Love… “just my opinion, i could be wrong” ( dennis miller)

  29. fats says:

    I forgot to say… although i am in a Parish that has laypersons handing out the Eucharist, and girls as altar servers, and they do a commendable job… if it all went back to only the priests giving the Eucharist, and only boys as altar servers, i’d still be there… since the Body and Blood of Christ is there.

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